Monday, April 21, 2008

Books, again...gotta hate'm

I've been thinking about the GREAT works of L'traaaatchuuure that I have hated. That have simply stunk.

Now don't get me wrong, there are some good ones out there, but YEE GAWDS there are some stinkers too.

Here goes a partial list off the cliched top of my head.

The first book I ever hated....Gone with the Wind. Would it never end, and would Scarlet ever turn into a worthwhile human being. Clearly NO. I finished it on a boat and the only reason I didn't lob the monster overboard was because it was a library book, and then I would have paid for it too. I decided at this point in my life I was NEVER plowing through a book I despised again.

Atwood (I know, your lining up to shoot me) but honest to God...she may be great...and she is a fantastic crafter of a sentence...but for all the toes on every Cupid's fat little foot, these are books to send you to the kitchen to stuff your head in the oven.

Middlemarch...yes it is a great and seminal book in the development of the novel...bored me senseless. Maybe it picked up after the first half, but life is too short to read books I am hating.

Reading Lolita in Tehran. Man I want to love this book. I so want to. I have started it about five times, and I always get about half way through and I am so overwhelmed by stifling boredom I cannot continue...maybe this is her point, the stifling overwhelming seemingly never-ending boredom of living where so little is allowed. If so, I've got it...I won't be picking it up again.

I just picked up, and put down about a quarter of the way through, A Distant Shore, but Caryl Phillips. Now the two protagonists are deeply troubled and basically massively depressed. I can work with that, the setting is dreary, that's OK, I'm hanging hombre....the weird slashed time changes that simply look like bad writing, but maybe are literature's version of abstraction, OK, I'm still there, but then the horrific racially motivated murder of one of the main characters by a crowd of YOBs who had been sending hate mail...sorry. BYE!!! I am only about a 6th in, and we are going to stutter and jerk our way through endless slashed disordered and time destroyed flashback misery to lead up to this? Ciao.

Pere Goriot by Balzac...I was forced to read it in French in grade 13, we read the Petit Prince the year before. I hate them both. What is it about assigning books at school that is such a kiss of death.

SO...My list can go on...

What are your secrets...those books you are ashamed to hate. Those books you are supposed to LOVE...

c'mon, I cannot be the only one with this dirty little secret....

Wha'da'ya hate?

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I cant think of a single Victorian novel I have enjoyed, nominees anyone? robinson Crusoe maybe an exception

Sea Dog

Boo and Trev said...

Robinson Crusoe isn't Victorian, bro!
Middlemarch is one of the best novels EVER!!!! Can't believe you hate it. How old were you when you read it?
Anyway talking about books where are your comments on the family book group book?

oreneta said...

That reminds me of another I hate...Swiss Family Robinson...even the d·mn cow had a name, but the mother was always mother, like the table was always table...a tool without personality or importance. It got up my butt.

I have to confess there are one or two Victorians I didn´t HATE...

Middlemarch...maybe maybe maybe I´ll try again...book group! Oh YEAH!

elPadawan said...

There are very few books that I never finished. Madame Bovary would be one of them. Otherwise, just out of sheer curiosity, I'll end up finishing the book. About the Petit Prince, perhaps it's because you were assigned to read it ;). I happened to enjoy books more when there was no assignment around them, perhaps because of the freedom of choice I have upon the book ;)

hulagirlatheart said...

I have tried more than once to read The Kite Runner and just can't get into it. Everybody else loves this book, loves the prose and the plot. I've tried to plow through it but just can't. I hate that I don't like this book.

Beth said...

To be brutally honest? A lot of Dickens. Not the more "popular" ones but some of those other BIG suckers. (And big books don't scare me...)

Still trying to think of some others - I'm sure there are lots but I have a terrible time even remembering the titles of all the books I've loved.

oreneta said...

Seadog...Robinson Crusoe...I did finish it, though the attitude to his man Friday took some choking over to get down...glad I don't have to read it again, it was carried by the cool cave creating tool finding and building sections.

Boo...you can't come up with even ONE that you hated!

elPadawan, I think also they are chosen because they are great LITERature...but they don't necessarily speak to the lives of the kids....look at the Wasteland over there, how many of you are actually appreciating it...I love it, but we took an entire term with a frankly BRILLIANT teacher and so I get a lot of the references now...it is the same with the kids in school, the references are not relevant, so they cannot get it....to schooly...there is a great debate going on about teaching Lolita to high school students on a blog I read (There by the way is another book I hated) but I think it is more relevent and accessible that most LITERAture that we chose...I saw a movie based on a woman English teacher in somewhere innercity America, she had them read Anne Frank..they could relate.

Hula, I have read the Kite Runner, I have recommended the Kite Runner, I am very glad I read it, thought it haunts me horribly still. I did not enjoy it. At all. Not for one moment. It is too...I am having trouble crafting a sentence to describe it...anguish has to be there, the death of hope, and still hope...it is possibly the most difficult book I have ever read....anguish.

Beth, I have to confess I have never tackled a Dickens, not even the popular ones..some of those folks desperately needed some editing...Don Quixote...OMG, cut cut cut my boy...Moby Dick? Can you say repetition, it was like torture, though I liked the book overall, I guess. I didn't hate either of them, but if we through in the frankly depressing nature of Dickens' books, I cannot bear to be depressed repetitively, I've never tried...

Terrie said...

I loved the The Davinci Code until the end and then I was so dissapointed by the ending that I lobbed it across the room.

Michele said...

The Count of Monte Cristo. I have tried and tried. I can't bear it for more than 750 pages.

Anything by Michael Ondaatje and (true confessions here) Hemingway.

The Stone Angel (weeping with shame).

Margaret Atwood is SO snobby sounding in interviews. I did like The Blind Assassin but not in a curl up and love it kind of way.

I did so try to support the Canadian females but it's so hard sometimes.

Boo and Trev said...

I think if I started on books I hated it might never stop!
I agree about the Kite Runner, everyone in my book group liked it but me. I just have problems if I don't like the central character.
Also at school we did The Antiquary by Sir Walter Scott. It was so tedious I almost ate my head.
Also I've never found a Hemmingway I wouldn't cross the street to avoid.
Hate Martin Amis and have never coped with Salmon Rushdie...
See I told you there is a lot of venom better left below the surface!

Helen said...

Iagree with many of the hates - Hemingway, Martin Amis, Thomas Hardy, DH Lawrence to name but a few. Also if going for Dickens avoid the early ones because of the puke factor of the heroine/heroes and read Bleak House as it is one of he BEST BOOKS EVER - still on the desert island list after all this time. As is Jane Austen and Lord of the Rings (not as well written but I love it still)
Glad to hear you have a route to follow with eldest - hope you find out soon what it all is.

oreneta said...

Terrie, I agree the ending was pretty lame. After all the action, it did tie things up, buutttt....


Michele...YES, I forgot HEMINGWAY, loathe the man's work...Stone Angel, I am sure I read it, but I don't remember, there was also a Canlit one by Barbara Gowdy (?) about elephants that was torturous...never finished it...

Boo, I have a Salmon Rushdie looking at me, and I keep breaking eye-contact, I strongly suspect I am going to hate it....

Helen, I am going to have to avoid Martin Amis if you both panned him. Was it Hardy who wrote some dreadful book with Clifford (or something like tha) in it? Didn't like that one bit...I have never finished a DH Lawrence, mostly out of boredom, no...tedium than anything else, I sort of forget I am reading it and it gets to the bottom of the pile where it languishes indefinately till it gets put back on a shelf. I will have to try Bleak House, though it certainly sounds, well, bleak.

Anonymous said...

NO! NO! NO! I say don't bother with any of the above.
If you haven't got them under your belt by now, forget it!
There's so much great literature out there just waiting to be discovered!
Have you tried some DOWNUNDER authors?
Best stuff going I find.
Got into it through Kim, an Aussie musician friend working out of Berlin.
My favorite by far - a New Zealander called Keri Hulme and her novel "the Bone People". GM

oreneta said...

GM...list some PLEASE!!! I am looking for new authors...I am going to put that book in my wish list in Amazon, RIGHT NOW!

Anonymous said...

Now you've put me in a backpedalling mode, my dear!!!
Find myself worrying about your getting books you will positively hate or be bored to tears with - not that it will affect our friendship,I hope, but definitely your pocketbook!!
Here's a mixed bag of contemporary authors that I've thoroughly enjoyed and love for different reasons.
Only a couple are downunders, I see.

Janette Turner Hospital "Charades"
Jeanette Winterson "Sexing the Cherry"
Barbara Trapido "Brother of the More Famous Jack"
Kate Atkinson "Behind the Scenes at the Museum"
Sena Jeter Naslund "Ahab's Wife"

The JT Hospital is a mind boggler but I love the way she forces the reader's mind to spin and face truths she'd never recognize otherwide.
Have to keep going almost against your will sometimes in order to get into the world she's creating but once you're in there, you can't get out!!!
Don't run away from Ahab's wife - she's so much more articulate and human and leads such a fascinating life that I tend to forget about Ahab and his obsessions with Moby Dick until he reappears in her life. Then she talks about him so that he really comes alive!!!
As I'm a terrible sailor my only fascination with water is watching sunsets and/or walking the beaches of the Great Lakes or the Baltic Sea. I only watch storms from the safety of a glassed-in veranda. I'm enthralled, nevertheless, by her descriptions of life at sea and the harrowing experiences she goes through - be interesting to hear what you say about it.
Naslund writes about and supplies her reader with so many insights into life in USA in early 19th century.
Marvellous that she took the trouble to research it all and then write such a passionate book about it. GM

Anonymous said...

cannot believe you all hate Hemingway - like him alot.
And Dickens - bleak? depressing? what books have you been reading? the man has a fantastic sense of hunour!
ok - now that I have totally alienated you all with my views - i'll tell you what i hated more than anything - PROUST!!! - if you haven't read it and you need to fall asleep with a tortured sense that it is so famous that any second it must turn a corner and beome interesting - there's the book for you - the hardest thing I have ever ploughed through.
2nd place goes to Don quixote though - guess you're right they didn't have editors back then. too bad! - joannePL

dawn said...

I don't have any that I can think of. Honestly, I don't read a lot of books for myself, just ones I read to the kids. I don't like books that will haunt me with terrible thoughts. I don't choose to read books that say, "You'll cry, you'll think, your life will never be the same". I like my life and I don't need to add misery through a though provoking book about a child being murdered and how the family deals with it. So, even though I have been given the book, I have not read "Lovely Bones". I guess I should face my fear sometime and read it.

oreneta said...

Dawn, I agree with you completely, I don't want to read books that will haunt me with horrid images. I wouldn't read the Kite Runner if I were you. I am not encouraging you, by any means, but the author of the Lovely Bones handles it in a way that is not distressing. I know that sounds strange, but I didn't find it nearly as hard to read as I anticipated. I am not saying I want to reread it, but I didn't hate it, nor did I find it made me feel miserable.

dawn said...

Thanks for that. I might give it a go.